LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is providing Funding for Recovery Equity and Expansion (FREE) Program money to 11 nonprofits working to lessen the commonwealth’s substance abuse problems. The program is a partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE) and the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH).
The organizations receiving funds and amounts are:
- Appalachian Kentucky Health Care Access Network (AKHCAN) is headquartered in Lexington, but works statewide ($21,999). AKHCAN will be training 100 Community Health Workers and multiple BIPOC-serving organizations on drug use stigma reduction. Programing will include skill building activities regarding serving people with opioid and/or stimulant use disorder, experiencing recovery from opioid and/or stimulant use disorder, or at risk of developing an opioid and/or stimulant use disorder and specific strategies to build relationships amongst service providers to help meet the specialized needs of individuals in recovery.
- Change Today, Change Tomorrow in Louisville, ($24,000). Change Today, Change Tomorrow will be distributing hygiene kits, Naloxone, safe-use kits, and fentanyl testing strips throughout West Louisville while also training individuals and community partners how to safely react to an overdose emergency.
- Hope Center in Lexington, KY ($50,000). Hope Center will be using these funds to employ a Hope Mobile Case Coordinator who will engage with at least 25 individuals who use drugs per month to connect them to harm reduction services and provide referrals to medical care.
- Joshua Community Connectors (JCC) in Louisville, ($50,000). JCC’s Removing Roadblocks to Recovery Project will assist people with substance use disorders by providing them with access to a licensed mental health professional, housing options, and case management services.
- Louisville Pride Foundation in Louisville, ($50,000). The “Caution to Care” program by the Louisville Pride Foundation focuses on addressing substance use disorders within the LGBTQ community through a range of activities that utilize LGBTQ ambassadors who are trained as Community Health Workers to conduct outreach, offer peer support, distribute harm reduction supplies, and educate the community on overdose prevention.
- Mental Health America Northern KY & Southwest Ohio headquartered in Newport, but works statewide ($40,000). MHANKYSWOH aims to fill state-wide vacancies for Peer Support Specialists by recruiting and training over 150 of these paraprofessionals across Kentucky and connecting them to job openings with service providers in their community.
- New Legacy Reentry Corp in Louisville, KY ($50,000). New Legacy Reentry Corps will use this funding to build out an inpatient and outpatient recovery center that specifically serves formerly incarcerated citizens who struggle with substance use and mental health issues.
- Pathways Inc headquartered in Ashland, but works all over eastern KY ($48,258.50). Pathways Inc. will be conducting a digital marketing campaign, coupled with two community outreach events, focusing on reducing the stigma of drug use and recovery in the BIPOC population.
- People Advocating Recovery (PAR) is headquartered in Louisville, but works statewide ($49,252.50). PAR will use these funds to outreach and build community with minoritized populations whose recovery experience has often been marginalized from mainstream substance use and recovery narratives. With information gained by this outreach, PAR will build and disseminate empowerment storytelling training materials that are more inclusive of all populations and experiences. These materials will be then used in the production of videos for a stigma reduction social media campaign and to help mobilize a coalition inclusive of the varied voices of recovery.
- Recovery Café in Lexington, KY ($50,000). Recovery Café Lexington will use this funding to increase their minority outreach specialist position from a part-time position to a full-time position. This person is responsible for building new relationships in the community through culturally competent outreach, partnership building, events, and content creation.
- Voices of Hope in Lexington, KY ($49,991). VOH will use this funding to provide staff with diversity/ equity/ and inclusion training centered on listening, empathy, and non-judgmental communication for staff to gain confidence and increase their skills of communication in working with all client populations. Furthermore, VOH will work with communities of color to create video and print materials, inclusive of Black and Latinx individuals, that provide education on overdose, substance use trends, and community resources for recovery.
“We must address addiction and its impacts for everyone, but especially for our underserved communities. What happens to any one of us, impacts all of us,” said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander.
While overdose death rates saw a decline last year in Kentucky, there are disparities when it comes to people of color and other under-resourced communities. The FREE program looked for projects with goals that could help start closing those gaps.
“We are eager to see all that these organizations will accomplish with these funds,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky (FHKY). “Their knowledge of their respective communities and established relationships are a vital resource. We believe these projects will be able to reach underserved individuals in need and address some of the overdose disparities we are seeing in Kentucky.”
The FREE program is structured to break down barriers that often make it more difficult forgrassroots and smaller nonprofits to compete for funding. Reimbursement-based contracting, for example, requires that a nonprofit has sufficient capital. But with this program, FHKY will provide the funding upon award to alleviate this burden and make it more accessible.
Additionally, the FREE program will provide more than just funds to chosen organizations. These nonprofits will receive support from FHKY, KORE, and KDPH to help them utilize their resources, build organizational capacity, and prepare for future growth.
This project is supported by the Kentucky Department for Public Health Office of Health Equity via funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort via Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Grant H79TI085782.
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since 2001, it has invested more than $29 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Visit Healthy-KY.org